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Biosensors in neuroscience

group palomo

Our research is focused on the use of nanoparticles and chemical biology to understand biological mechanisms in pathological conditions and therapeutic recovery. Among other materials, we use Quantum Dots (QDs) as luminescent nanoparticles to visualize molecular targets and monitor enzyme activity. QDs offer great potential for studying biological systems due to their optimal luminescent properties and the versatility of conjugation with different biomolecules. In parallel, we work with peptides in different applications including cell penetrating peptides and their conjugation with nanoparticles.

 We focus our research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) a rare and devastating neurodegenerative disease that currently lacks of effective therapy. We aim at developing tools to help find those drugs with the potential of making a difference in the treatment of this disease.


Research lines

  • Quantum Dots for the Understanding of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Here we are working in establishing a Quantum Dot platform to study neurodegenerative diseases in human models. We work with conjugates of Quantum Dots and monoclonal antibodies and with Quantum Dot sensors for neurodegenerative target monitoring in patient-derived cells. We also work in the design of dynamic sensors of cellular processes, such as tracking molecular motor movement using Quantum Dots and other fluorophores. We use the combination of biosensors and nanotechnological tools to select and optimize drug candidates for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, or to select drugs with fewer neurological side effects. Finally, we work to create dynamic sensors with Quantum Dots to monitor key enzymes in neurodegenerative diseases.

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MÁ Oliva et al., Int J Mol Sci. 2022, 23, 3448; C Tosat-Bitrián et al., Nanomaterials 2021, 11, 671; C Tosat-Bitrián et al, Nanomedicine, 2020, 30, 102299

  • Design and Discovery of New Drugs for Neurodegenerative Diseases

We work in the design of multitarget drugs, that aim at solving several of the pathological processes occurring in neurodegenerative diseases at the same time. Since drug-like properties are hard to meet with larger multitarget compounds we also work in the design of nanoparticles as carriers of these agents.research line2

V Nozal et al., Angew Chem Int Ed Engl,  2021, 60, 19344-19354

  • Extracellular vesicles and their role in neurodegenerative diseases

We work in characterizing extracellular vesicles in our patient-derived models of disease, to improve our understanding of the pathology in a personalized manner. We use several techniques for their isolation and characterization and design Quantum Dot nanoparticles for their fluorescent phenotyping.

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